Muhammad Ali Enterprises filed a lawsuit against Fox Broadcasting Company for $30 million, alleging that Fox featured the unauthorized identity of the boxing legend in a pre-game video that aired on the network during the Super Bowl last February. The ads narrated about Muhammad Ali's life in a three-minute promotional video called "The Greatest" for Super Bowl 51.

The lawsuit alleged that Fox positioned Ali's name, image, and likeness in a video that drew the national audience of 111 million viewers and could have sold to advertisers for $30 million.

The typical cost of 30-second Super Bowl ads was $5 million. Due to false endorsement in a video that ran on Fox, the lawsuit seeks $30 million in damages.

Fredrick Sperling, an attorney who filed a lawsuit against Fox on the behalf of Muhammad Ali Enterprises in Chicago, issued the statement saying that the network received great value by featuring Muhammad Ali's identity to market itself without permission. Fox declined to respond media requests for comments on the lawsuit.

ABG owns marketing rights

According to the lawsuit, Fox never inquired for permission to endorse Ali's likeness in an advertisement on video. Therefore, the lawsuit alleged that the network is in a violation of the Illinois Right of Publicity Act, which restricts individuals or businesses from obtaining financial benefits by utilizing celebrities' names and likeness in advertisements without authorization.

According to ESPN, Authentic Brands Group (ABG) possesses the Muhammad Ali Enterprises, which holds all of Ali's trademark, publicity and intellectual property rights, including the largest library of photos and videos of the boxer. The lawsuit demands that Fox must remove all copies of the video from the website.

Ali, widely considered as one of the most prominent athletes of the 20th century, lived in Chicago throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Last year, he passed away at the age of 74.

History of lawsuit over athletes' likeness

Two years ago, National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Michael Jordan was awarded $8.9 million by the federal jury in a lawsuit against the defunct Dominick's supermarket chain for promoting his name in a steak ad and utilizing his image in a commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated without his permission.

Last year, electronics company Samsung was sued by Sperling in Chicago on the behalf of former Brazil soccer star Pele, who sought $30 million in compensation, for inaccurately promoting a Pele look-alike in an advertisement for televisions.